Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, today delivered a major speech at an AFL-CIO conference on monetary policy in the United States.
In her remarks, Ranking Member Waters said the Federal Reserve should pay due consideration to the needs of workers when setting interest rate policy and expressed concerns about the impact of any premature rate increases on workers as well as low-income and minority communities.
“The Fed’s decisions have serious implications for working Americans who rely on borrowing to make ends meet,” Waters said. “Low-income and minority communities, in fact, rely disproportionately on credit to finance auto loans, college, home mortgages, and other consumer spending. And thus, any increase in rates will undoubtedly make it more expensive for them to borrow.”
Waters went on to say that she supports Chair Yellen’s cautious and prudent approach on interest rates and has “full confidence in Chair Yellen’s appreciation for the fact that we cannot lose sight of the weaknesses in our economy.”
Waters also called attention to the need for racial and ethnic diversity at the Federal Reserve. “Addressing the needs of diverse and underserved communities will only receive the attention it deserves if those communities have a seat at the decision-making table,” Waters said, adding that she knows Chair Yellen takes “personal responsibility” for increasing diversity within the Fed. “With continued encouragement from Congress, organized labor, and the public at large, we can make the lack of diversity a concern of the past.”